Deadly Cuts takes the energetic world of hairdressing competitions and injects it with signature Irish black comedy. Bringing to mind a mix of the competitive pageantry of Miss Congeniality and the female empowered salon-meets-crime angle of TNT’s Claws, the film is hilarious, engaging, and surprising. It’s clear that writer and director Rachel Carey has done her homework on the salon world. Deadly Cuts presents a specificity and authenticity to hairdressing and the struggles of the working class.
On the cusp of a gentrification deal that’ll see their struggling salon, Deadly Cuts, steamrolled for luxury apartments, owner Michelle (Angeline Ball) knows they need to take drastic measures to save the business. Stylist Stacey (Erica Roe) has a plan: enter the salon into the Ah-Hair hairdressing competition to save the business—and their community—from impending destruction. Murderous hijinks, sabotage, and dark secrets stand in the way as Deadly Cuts aims to make it to the Ah-Hair Avant Garde Final.
Deadly Cuts is full of quotable dialogue from an impressive, mostly-female cast of quirky characters. I laughed out loud at the sharp Irish humor. The girls go off on a tangent about what type of person they’d be in jail, there’s an aside about folding a body in half (“not a fuckin slice of toast Chantelle!), and a comically over the top reveal about Michelle’s past (“I balded her at Ah-Hair!”) Inspired by real hairdressing competitions, the film encapsulates the unique sensibilities, trials, and tribulations of working women in Dublin. The big exciting spectacle of the competition keeps it light and fun, even when the movie dips its toes in violence.
The ending seemed to tease a sequel or continuation, so I was happy to learn from the SIFF Q&A that director Rachel Carey is currently working on a series. If the Deadly Cuts series is half as wild, fun, and hilarious as the film, I know I’ll be tuning in every week. What would D’Logan do?
Deadly Cuts screened at the Seattle International Film Festival, April 8th – April 18th, 2021.